What to Plant in Raised Garden Beds: A Beginner’s Guide
So, you’ve decided to start a raised garden bed – that’s fantastic! Raised garden beds offer numerous benefits such as improved soil quality, better drainage, and easier access for gardening enthusiasts. Now the question arises: what should you plant in your new elevated oasis? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through some excellent choices for your raised garden beds.
1. Consider Your Climate
Before diving into specific plants, it’s important to consider your climate zone. Different plants thrive under different conditions, so understanding your local climate will help determine which varieties are best suited for success in your raised garden bed.
a) Warm Climate Zones
If you live in a warm climate zone characterized by long hot summers and mild winters (such as USDA zones 8-10), there are several suitable options:
- Tomatoes: Choose heat-tolerant varieties like cherry tomatoes or Roma tomatoes.
- Basil: This herb thrives in warm weather and enriches dishes with its aromatic leaves.
- Peppers: Bell peppers or chili peppers are perfect additions to spice up your meals.
- Zucchini: These fast-growing summer squash love the warmth and produce abundantly.
b) Cool Climate Zones
If you reside in a cooler climate zone with shorter growing seasons (such as USDA zones 3-6), these crops perform exceptionally well:
- Lettuce: Enjoy fresh salads by planting various lettuce varieties like romaine or butterhead lettuce.Carrots: These root vegetables thrive during cool temperatures — ideal for early spring planting.
- Broccoli: A cool-season favorite, broccoli is packed with nutrients and tastes delicious when homegrown.
- Peas: Plant peas early in the season, and you’ll be rewarded with a sweet harvest before summer.
2. Utilize Vertical Space
One of the greatest advantages of raised garden beds is their ability to maximize space utilization. By incorporating vertical gardening techniques, you can grow even more in your limited area.
a) Climbing Vegetables
Consider these climbing vegetables for an efficient use of vertical space:
- Cucumbers: Certain cucumber varieties are well-suited to trellises or stakes.Pole Beans: These beans love to climb; planting them vertically helps save precious ground space.
- Gourds: Opt for smaller varieties like bottle gourds or birdhouse gourds that can grow vertically.
- Squash: Some squash plants have trailing vines that thrive when grown on trellises or cages.Tomatoes (Again!): Indeterminate tomato plants can be trained upwards, maximizing your yield potential. b) Hanging Baskets
- Strawberries: Enjoy juicy strawberries by suspending them from your raised garden bed’s edges.
Mint:This refreshing herb adds delightful flavor notes to drinks and dishes. Hang it near seating areas to enjoy its fragrance.
3. Companion Planting
Companion planting is a technique that involves grouping plants together for mutual benefits, such as improved growth or pest control. Here are a few tried-and-true combinations:
a) Tomatoes and Basil
Plant basil near tomatoes to enhance their flavor and repel pests like aphids.
b) Carrots and Onions
Interplant carrots with onions to deter carrot flies while promoting healthier growth.
c) Cucumbers and Radishes
Radishes help repel cucumber beetles, protecting your cucumbers from potential harm.
d) Marigolds Everywhere!
Marigolds emit compounds that repel harmful nematodes, so they make great companions for many vegetable crops.
With this beginner’s guide to planting in raised garden beds, you’re well on your way to creating an abundant oasis right at home. Remember to consider your climate zone when selecting crops and think vertically by incorporating climbing vegetables or hanging baskets. Additionally, don’t forget about the power of companion planting – it can significantly boost the health of your garden bed. So grab those gardening gloves and get ready for a bountiful harvest!
Certain herbs and small fruits flourish beautifully in hanging baskets: